Senin, 20 Oktober 2014

JOKOWI VOWS TO ADVANCE INDONESIA'S MARITIME SECTOR

By Andi Abdussalam
          Jakarta, Octo 21 (Antara) - Indonesia's new President Joko Widodo, popularly called Jokowi, has pledged to advance Indonesia's marine sector and to restore the nation's past maritime glory.
         The new president took the pledge after he was installed as Indonesia's seventh president along with Vice President Jusuf Kalla (JK) on Monday.
         He pointed out that Indonesia has, so far, focused on land activities and in the process, has overlooked its seas where the marine and fisheries sector has an economic potential of more than US$1.2 trillion a year.
         "We have left the seas, oceans, straits, and bays too long. Now is the time for us to get back and revive all this. We must be glorious at sea as reflected in the slogans of our ancestors in the past. We can echo the slogan again," the president remarked while addressing the plenary session of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) on Monday.
         Jokowi called on all Indonesians to work hard in developing the maritime sector as the future of the state depends on it.
        "We have to work as hard as possible to get Indonesia back to its previous maritime state's status. Oceans, seas, straits, and bays are the future of our civilization," the new president noted.

NEW GOVERNMENT EXPECTED TO ADVANCE TOURISM

By Andi Abdussalam   
          Jakarta, Oct 20 (Antara) - Joko Widodo's government is expected to strengthen the country's tourism sector and increase the current foreign tourist arrivals of some 8-9 million a year to 20 million a year in the next five years.
         Tourism industry operators pin hopes on Joko Widodo, better known as Jokowi, who was inaugurated as Indonesia's seventh president on Monday (Oct. 20, 2014), as he is believed to have special interests in the development of tourism.
         "We hope that Pak (Mr) Jokowi will support tourism businesses and involve tourism industry operators while drawing a development plan for the sector," Edwin Ismedi Himna, the chairman of the Association of Indonesian Tours and Travel Agencies (ASITA) for Yogyakarta, said on Sunday.
         The tourism industry has extended full support for Jokowi who has set the tourist arrivals target at 20 million in the coming five years.

Sabtu, 18 Oktober 2014

TENSIONS CALM DOWN IN RUN-UP TO PRESIDENTIAL INAUGURATION

 By Andi Abdussalam  
          Jakarta, Oct 19 (Antara) - Indonesia's political tensions abruptly calmed down over a meeting between President-elect Joko Widodo and former presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto on Friday.
         Tensions have been running high since July 9, 2014 presidential race over mutual claim of victory and alleged election fraud.
         Tensions continued despite a decision by the Constitutional Court (MK) confirming the victory of Joko Widodo. Lately rumors have it that there were efforts to thwart the presidential inauguration ceremony scheduled on Monday, October 20, 2014.
         But all this abruptly calmed down when President-elect Joko Widodo, better known as Jokowi, visited Prabowo on his birthday on Friday, creating conducive political atmosphere in the run-up to the presidential inauguration.
         Both leaders agreed to create and maintain peace and unity in Indonesia. "We agree to maintain the unity of Indonesia, the nation's ideology Pancasila, and the Constitution," Prabowo remarked after  the meeting at his late father's house in Jakarta.
         Jokowi based on schedule will be installed as Indonesia's seventh president along with his running mate Jusuf Kalla (JK) on Monday.

Jumat, 17 Oktober 2014

NEXT GOVT EXPECTED TO CONTINUE PREVIOUS ECONOMIC PROGRAMS

By Andi Abdussalam
       Jakarta, Oct 18 (Antara) - The next government under Joko Widodo, who will be sworn in as Indonesia's seventh president on Monday, is expected to continue development programs begun by outgoing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
         The continuation of the programs, such as the Master Plan for Acceleration and Expansion of Indonesia's Economic Development (MP3EI), along with other people-oriented programs, is important for the people and for the sustainability of the nation's development.
         "Development is a long process. It is not an event that lasts only for one or two years. In view of that, our energy, spirit, and life must be aimed at sustainable development efforts. It is not only the environment that must be preserved, but also the development efforts in stages," outgoing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono stated during a national meeting with regional civilian and military officials in Jakarta on Wednesday.
        Further, outgoing Vice President Boediono also asked upcoming vice president Jusuf Kalla to continue people-oriented programs, such as the rice for the poor scheme, in an effort to improve the welfare of those at the bottom of society.
        The MP3EI program is one of President Yudhoyono's main development programs in the economic field, which must be continued by the next government.

CPO EXPECTED TO SUPPORT GOVT BIOFUEL PROGRAM

By Andi Abdussalam  
          Jakarta, Oct 17 (Antara) - With the depletion of its fossil fuel reserves and increasing world calls for a clean environment, Indonesia is launching a biofuel mix program, as part of its efforts to turn towards eco-friendly energy.
         In carrying out this program, the government has been putting in place a 10-percent biofuel mix of fuel oil called B10. Biofuel mix is to be increased to 20 percent in 2016 when the biofuel mix is expected to reach 8 million kiloliters.
         To support this program, the government is using crude palm oil (CPO) as raw material in the 10 percent biofuel mix. This program is also aimed at reducing fuel imports.
         The government is set to increase the biofuel mix target to 30 percent in the future, if the B10 and B20 programs are successful in 2014 and 2016. "If we have enough time, we can introduce higher biodiesel blends. With uncertain prices at present, we can best allocate a substantial amount (of CPO for the mixture program)," Indonesian Trade Minister Muhammad Lutfi said recently.
         This program also offers a sales guarantee to the country's CPO domestic industry. Thus, domestic palm oil industries have the chance to expand their businesses.

Rabu, 15 Oktober 2014

INDONESIA MUST VIEW ASEAN AS ITS EXPANDED MARKET

By Andi Abdussalam  
          Jakarta, Oct 16 (Antara) - Described as having 40 percent of ASEAN's economic resources or the Greater ASEAN, Indonesia should be able to use the 600 million population of the region as its market base.
         If Indonesia fails to garner the benefits of the ASEAN free trade when the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) is implemented in 2015, it will only become a market for other nations in the region.
         Chief Economic Minister Chaerul Tanjung stated that currently, Indonesia has a population of 250 million. With the implementation of the AEC, its market will increase to 600 million. Thus, all sides, including the central and regional governments, should prepare themselves to face the competition.
         "We should not merely compete, but win the competition in free trade when the AEC will be implemented by the end of 2015," Minister Chaerul Tanjung remarked in Ambon, Maluku, on Wednesday.
          In fact, Indonesia is now ready to face the AEC as not all sectors will automatically be open to trade and service.
         "The AEC does not mean that all the sectors will be entirely open to trade and service. Therefore, Indonesia is now 95 percent ready to face the ASEAN free trade," the minister noted.

Kamis, 25 September 2014

NUMBER OF POOR IN INDONESIA COULD POTENTIALLY INCREASE

by Andi Abdussalam
          Jakarta, Sept 25 (Antara) - Records of the Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS) reveal that Indonesia was home to some 28.28 million poor people last March, higher than the 28.17 million recorded in the same period the year before.
         BPS Chief Suryamin said recently that the rise in the number of poor people could be attributed to the losses incurred by those working in the agricultural sector as the harvest season had been delayed due to unfavorable climatic conditions.
         A World Bank reported that  the rate of reduction of poverty and inequality in Indonesia had  declined, and was only 0.7 percent in 2012-2013. This was the lowest seen in the last decade.
         The World Bank has also reported that around 68 million people in Indonesia almost fell in the "poor" category as their income was marginally higher than that of those in the "poor families" category.
         According to Rizal Ramli, who was the Chief Economic Minister during Abdurrahman Wahid's term as president, there could be a further rise in the number of the poor if the incoming government raised the price of subsidized fuel.
        Ramli added that in addition to these 28.2 million, another 10 million people nearly fall in the "poor" category.  If the price of subsidized fuel is raised, it would lead to a hike in the cost of transportation and commodities as well as the inflation rate, leading to another rise in the number of poor. 
    "If the next government raises fuel prices, the number of poor people in Indonesia will most likely rise to 38 million," the former Chief Economic Minister stated.